BASL frowns on criminal action against ex-CJ, judge



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by Maheesha Mudugamuwa


The Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) yesterday took exception to criminal proceedings against the former Chief Justice Mohan Pieris PC and Justice A.H.M.D Nawaz, a sitting Judge of the Court of Appeal.


The criminal proceedings against them have been initiated on the basis of professional advice given by them in their former capacities as the Attorney General and Deputy Solicitor General respectively, according to BASL Secretary Amal Randeniya.


Addressing the media at the BASL auditorium in Colombo, he said that it was a trite proposition that an opinion tendered by counsel alone couldn’t form the basis of criminal proceedings and they would not be able to discharge their functions untrammeled by the threat of criminal action.


Issuing a statement on behalf of BASL President U.R de Silva, PC, Deputy President M.U.M Ali Sabry, PC, Treasurer Sujeewa Lal Dahanayake and Assistant Secretary Rajitha Hathurusinghe, Randeniya said that the BASL’s concern stemmed not from the stand point of the individuals concerned, but as a matter affecting the Bar, independence of the Judiciary, rule of Law and the interests of the public at large.


Nearly 19,000 members of BASL were giving their opinion and advice and initiating criminal proceedings against them was unacceptable, he added.


BASL said that it did not in any way intend to obstruct or interfere with the course of justice or the right of Law enforcement institutions to carry out their functions.


In January, the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption filed a case against former Chief Justice Peiris Justice A.H.M.D Nawaz, former LECO Chairman M.M.C. Ferdinando under Section 70 of the Bribery Act.


According to the commission the accused committed the alleged offence on or around December 1, 2010 and December 30, 2010 while Peiris was serving as the Attorney General and Nawaz as a Deputy Solicitor General at the Attorney General’s Department. Third accused M.M.C. Ferdinando was the former chairman of LECO at that time.


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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